If you think that video games are for lazy teenagers or adult couch potatoes only, think again. Once you start reaching your ‘golden’ age or if you are way past your 60s and 70s, your heart, body and mind can use the adrenaline rush brought about by the modern gaming devices which are available today.
Why Video Games Aren’t Just For Kids Anymore?
So what exactly are the benefits that grandma and grandpa can get from playing Wii, online games, PlayStation 2 or similar gaming devices? There’s actually a lot more to video gaming than you may actually think.
A good number of studies in the past have shown that playing video games has many positive benefits to senior health. For young people, one of the benefits of playing video games is to sharpen their problem-solving abilities. Video games are even known to improve the skills of a surgeon in the operating table.
Now, to give you an idea about the health benefits that older people will enjoy, take a look at the following list:
- According to the Psychology and Aging magazine, playing complex video games after receiving training may improve the cognitive functions of seniors. This is one the functions which typically decline with age.
- Aside from improving their cognitive functions, video games which require seniors to juggle multiple tasks may also improve their ability to perform some other everyday tasks in the ‘real world’.
- Researches done in the past also indicated that video games such as the ones provided by Nintendo and Wii can be successfully used to doctor seniors with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses of a psychological or psychosocial nature.
- Preliminary studies have shown that strategy video games may help older adults in keeping their brains razor sharp.
- Since you will be playing with the aid of a joystick, video games can help improve your eye-hand coordination.
To sum it all up, what video games do is keep an aging brain young – which is why they bring forth a multitude of benefits for a senior’s overall health. And with the introduction of Wii fitness-themed games, who says that they can’t enjoy the physical benefits of video games as well?
Top 10 Video Games to Improve Senior Health
After learning about the benefits of using video games to improve senior health, which games should you borrow from your grand kids? Here are the top 10 video games which help improve senior health:
1. Brain Age and Brain Age2
This is a video game developed by Nintendo DS, which has already spawned a sequel: Brain Age2. Both the original and the sequel video games are inspired by the work of Japanese neuroscientist Dr. Ryuta Kawashima.
Basically, what the Brain Age video game will assist you with is stimulating your brain by giving it the workout that it needs with activities like solving simple math problems, currency counting, drawing pictures or unscrambling letters.
As indicated in their website, the activities in the Brain Age2 video game will increase the blood flow to your prefrontal cortex. [Poor Blood Circulation]
BrainBashers.com is actually a website which was started in 1997 by Kevin Stone, BSC. The site has a great collection of logic game, brain teasers, riddles, puzzles, games and optical illusions.
The good thing about BrainBashers is that five new puzzles are added every other week, so you will have some new brain-exerciser games to look forward to. [Brain Strengthening Exercises]
The benefit of visiting sites like these is that your mental acuity will be sharpened because of the sheer number of activities that your brain can be engaged in.
3. Wii Golf
If, for one reason or another, you have decided to quit playing golf – you can still have a go at it with the help of a video game like the Nintendo Wii Golf.
You can enjoy it as part of the Wii Sports collection which includes a series of five sports simulations: tennis, baseball, golf, bowling and boxing. So, how exactly will the Wii Golf help seniors have a pretty good workout – with the help of a video game console? [Balance Exercises For Seniors]
The Wii Remote is the key. What it does is mimic the actions performed in real life sports.
Let’s say that you have swung the Wii Remote which you will be using as a golf club, its mechanism will detect how strong or how gentle your golf swing is, and the results will be seen on the screen.
4. Dancing with the Stars
Whether or not you’re a fan of the show that the video game is based on, you will have a blast playing the “Dancing with the Stars” video game. Released in October 2007, the game has PC and online versions, and is also available in Wii, PC, mobile and PlayStation 2 platforms.
If you will get the PlayStation 2 or Wii formats of the game, that is when you will have the best time exercising because it comes with the dance pad. Basically, you will enjoy a physical workout while playing a video game at the same time.
Whether it’s a game installed on your mobile phone, your computer or a gaming console, the classic blocks game of Tetris will provide a lot of benefits for you as a senior.
When you use the arrow keys on your keyboard to play the game and you’re at an advanced level, your quick thinking skills will be sharpened. Hand-eye coordination and logical thinking are the other benefits that you will get from playing this game.
6. NASCAR 09
Bring out the risk-taking race car driver in you with the NASCAR 09 video game. It comes in the following formats: PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. If you’re not into race car driving, you can try the other driving and flying video games, which will keep your wits razor sharp.
7. Guild Wars
This PC game is available in Windows format only, and is developed by ArenaNet. It’s an episodic series of role-playing games on multiplayer online mode.
Guild Wars is in fact popular with both the younger and the older crowd – so you’ll have plenty of youthfulness to keep you company while the game sharpens your wits at the same time.
If there’s one online video gaming site that is popular with the over-40 crowd, that is none other than Pogo.com. The site is suitable for seniors who are not really into racing, war games or strategic games.
Pogo.com includes a wide array of puzzle games, word games, card games, board games, arcade and sports games that will keep you spending as much hours as your grand kid is spending on the Internet.
Another classic game that will keep your brain razor sharp is scrabble. You can even go one step further and use the fun game to connect with your friends and family – no matter which part of the world they live in.
You can have a game with two to four players, and receive notifications on your e-mail if it is your turn to play.
10. Grandparent Games
To cap off our list, there’s the aptly named Grandparent Games which allows seniors to connect with their grandchildren through interactive games. If you want to connect with your children’s kids while exercising your brain at the same time, you get free access to the service for 7 days.
There’s a minimal fee to continue, but if you like playing the games, it is definitely worth it. Interactive baseball games can boost activity levels, although buying Nike baseball bats and playing the game should not be stopped.
There you have it – our top 10 list of the best video games that will allow seniors to exercise their brains, their bodies and improve their eye-hand coordination. Whoever said that video games are a waste of time and are only meant for lazy kids and adults, can never be more wrong.